Major decisions in International Marketing communication

The important steps in developing an effective communication are the following:

Identifying the target Audience

Even for the same product the target audience may be different in different countries. For example, certain consumer durables which are used even by the low income group in the advanced countries may be used only by high income groups in the developing countries. In several cases the need satisfaction by the product varies between markets. For example, bicycles are basic means of transportation in countries like India and the important category of consumers are small farmers, blue-collar workers and students. In some of the advanced countries, bicycles are used for sporting and exercising and hence the target audience is different. Again the decision-making roles of different categories of people are not the same in all markets. All these indicate that the target audience may not be the same in all markets.

Determining Communication Objectives:

The communication objectives also may be different in some cases. Foe example, when the product is in the introduction stage in a market the emphasis of communication could be on consumer education and creation of primary demand. In a market where the product is at other stages of the life cycle, the communication objectives would be different. If there is a serious new competition in one market, fighting competition could be a major objective of advertising in that market at that time.

Determining the message:

Formulating the message will require solving four problems: what to say (message content), how to say it logically (message structure), how to say it symbolically (message format), and who should say it (message source).

Quite obviously, the decisions regarding the message content, message structure, message format and message source are influenced by certain environmental factors like cultural factors and legal factors. The differences in the environmental factors among the countries may, therefore, call for different messages so as to be appropriate for each market.

Budget Decisions:

The size of the total promotional expenditure and the apportioning of this amount to the different elements of the promotion mix are very important but difficult decisions.

The common methods used to set promotion budgets are the following:

Affordable Method: Set the budget at what the company thinks it can afford.
Percentages of Sales Method: A certain percentage of sales is set apart for promotion.
Objective and Task Method: Involves determining the communication objectives and the tasks involved in achieving the objectives and estimating the expenditure requirements for performing these tasks.
Competitive Parity Method: The budget is set at that level which matches the promotional expenditure of the competitors.

Communication mix decision:

Difference in the marketing environment may necessitate variations in the communication mix because a channel or medium that is very effective in one market may not be so effective in another market. Some channels which are effective in certain markets may not be available or underdeveloped in some other markets. More about the communications mix is given in the next section.

Communication Mix:

The communication mix, also called promotion mix, has four major elements (or tools or channels) namely advertising, sales promotion, personal selling and public relations. Which communication tool or tools should be used or the nature of the mix is determined by the marketing environment and the company’s objectives and resources.


Advertising is defined as any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods or services by an identified sponsor. Advertising regulation differ between countries.

The relative effectiveness of different media may be different in different countries. Similarly, media availability and efficiency may also vary.

Mass Media Advertising and Direct Advertising:

Given the resources constraints and the small volume of business of Indian exporter, in many cases direct advertising is preferable to mass media advertising.

Mass media are media which reach large number of the general public like TV, newspapers, magazines etc.

Direct advertising is marketing communication addressed directly to the specific customers targeted.

Indian exporters would have difficulties to compete with the large mega-budget mass media advertisers in the foreign markets.

Important types of direct advertising are sales literature and samples and gifts.